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NICTS P 90 C3 7.8 PROGRAMME C3: PROMOTING INTEGRATED ADOPTION OF ICTs IN AGRICULTURE THROUGH COLLABORATIVE WORKING Programme Context and Overview Significant ICT initiatives have been taken up in the sector. However, there are two main problems hampering increased adoption and usage of ICT: proper institutional mechanisms with which to review, monitor and evaluate the efficacy of ICT initiatives and the need for a sector-wide ICT adoption plan that would form the basis of a well-coordinated ICT uptake. Although the Ministry of Agriculture is one of the first departments to come up with a strategic plan, the implementation remained largely restricted to office administration systems and the like at the level of CATALYSE the Ministries and the Secretariats. Aspects of culture and ownership structure are attributed for these. The usage of the Internet as a tool with which to bring about knowledge sharing and as an enabler of innovation has not been fully exploited either. Interventions, then, in the Agriculture sector must lead to better coordination, collaboration and planning, enhanced levels of efficiency and effectiveness in internal administrative systems, improved access to information and knowledge exchange and substantively adding to decision-making capability 61 through effective use of GIS . The following constitute the main recommendations. The need for a comprehensive eAgriculture Action Plan 62 There needs to be a comprehensive eAgriculture Action Plan which would focus on at least the following • Comprehensive Business Process Re-engineering of parastatal organisations involved in 63 the sector . • Preparation of a complete geo-database invoking all necessary layers and their associated attributes; this geodatabase would be shared for deployment and usage with the respective bodies in their solutions. • Installation of an institutional framework that would help operationalise the ICT initiatives recommended in the plan and also facilitate the adoption of further enhancements required. • Identification of capacity building initiatives that need to be taken up to advance usage of ICT. • Development of a comprehensive eAgriculture portal with selective access to stakeholders including farmers, corporates, farmers’ and fishermen associations, agricultural forums, ministries and departments, clubs and associations, policy planers and other agriculture enthusiasts. • Development and replication of early-warning systems. • Upgradation of the eAgriculture portal into a comprehensive GIS-based Mauritius Agriculture Resource Information System (MAGRIS). • Possible partnerships between public and private for collaboration on different initiatives that could be taken up in the sector. • A comprehensive outcome-based monitoring and evaluation process for recommended initiatives • Thematic interaction forums for agriculture stakeholders. • GIS-aided Decision Support Systems for government policy planners. The above initiative needs to get kick started through detailed conceptualisation following the points mentioned above as to the technology solutions that need to be adopted, the stakeholders that need to be brought on board with MoUs to bind them into participation in a win-win collaboration model, Horizontal Transfer of Indigenous Solutions to other countries of the region A concerted effort needs to be made to investigate the possibility of deployment of solutions for Agriculture in other countries of the region under a larger government-to-government understanding.PricewaterhouseCoopers 61 Geographical Information System covers a genre of ICT applications and tools that facilitate analysis and decision-making through visually- aided linkage of geographical entities with their associated attribute data. 62 It may be noted that internal computerisation and re-engineering of the Ministry is not included within the scope and actually falls within the later programme “Accelerated eGovernment through Process Re-engineering and Coordinated Planning”. 63 Ministries and departments are all covered under the Programme A1 as part of the eGovernance Master Plan exercise.
NICTSC3 91 P This initiative has been covered in greater detail under the programme “Building Leadership Competencies in ICT”. The need for Capacit y Building Undertaking ICT capacity building initiatives wherever appropriate, particularly for those who opt for the Voluntary Retirement Schemes in the sugar sector, so that they could be gainfully re-deployed elsewhere. Figure 14 Mauritius Agricultural Resource Information System MAURITIUS AGRICULTURAL RESOURCE INFORMATION SYSTEM (MAGRIS) Socially desirable, technologically appropriate, economically viable, and ecologically sound pattern of resource use to promote sustainable development in agriculture can be addressed through the development of a comprehensive Mauritius Agriculture Resource Information Systems (MAGRIS) that includes aspects of CATALYSE soil, water, livestock, plant and seed, fisheries, forest, climate, rainfall, human resources, capital, fodder, land owners’ data, environment data, socio-economic and infrastructure data, and production inputs resources. The development of MAGRIS has the potential to lead to • Utilisation of ICT to advance the needs of agricultural planning and management. • Increasing the farmer’s production through enhanced yields. • Help farmers maximise profits by buying inputs cheaply and efficiently and then marketing product at best prices. • Focus on ICTs for farmers but with support from Researchers, Industry, Students and Extension. • Utilise ICT solutions to deliver timely information during the growing season, bring about knowledge sharing of research activities, agro-industry based sharing of knowledge, market agricultural produces and products , undertake training and extension activities. Outcomes resultant on the eAgriculture Action Plan include • increased coordinated and collaborative working leading to better resource utilisation and cost savings. • enhanced availability of timely information for decision-making to the stakeholders ranging from the farmer to the policy planner. • better land area utilisation, crop planning, and increased revenue through appropriate matchmaking. • informed decision-making from policy makers with easy and continued access to relevant data. Programme Strategic Objectives • to arrive at an overall strategic approach for ICT adoption in the Mauritius agriculture sector, including the preparation of a comprehensive eAgriculture Action Plan. • to develop a Mauritius eAgriculture portal that serves as a true collaborative platform that brings together diverse stakeholders and helps present a unified window for role-based access to agricultural information and services. • to undertake awareness and sensitisation campaigns to convey benefits that could be appropriated of ICTs by the stakeholders in the sector in helping them extract better benefits from operations in the sector. • to ensure that conducive conditions are provided to bring about a more uniform spread in ICT adoption across locations and stakeholders of varying financial strength. • to harness ICT as a tool with which to bring about greater knowledge sharing and facilitating innovation amongst agriculture practitioners in Mauritius. • to set up proper institutional mechanisms with which to review, monitor and evaluate the efficacy of ICT initiatives in the sector and take appropriate actions. PricewaterhouseCoopers • to undertake the preparation of a complete geo-database invoking all necessary layers with their required attributes; this geodatabase would be shared for deployment and usage with the respective bodies in their ICT solutions.
NICTS P 92 C3 • to undertake the development and replication of early-warning systems, including systems that help prepare for pre-emptive and rehabilitative treatments. • to take up the development of a comprehensive GIS-based Mauritius Agriculture Resource Information System that would serve as a tool to facilitate better decision-making among agricultural practitioners. Projects and Outcomes Table 25 C3- Projects and Outcomes Project PROJECTS ACTIVITIES OUTCOMES CATALYSE Code • Conducting a meeting with all stakeholders • Specification of the overall requirements in the eAgriculture system • eAgriculture • Preparation of a RFP to invite consultancy for the Action Plan preparation of the eAgriculture Plan of Action • Request for • Invite and award bids Proposal for • Commissioning the consultancy exercise eAgriculture • Recommendations in the draft eAgriculture Action Action Plan Plan including • Mauritius o Specifications for an eAgriculture portal for Agricultural all stakeholders Resource o Specifications for exploiting emerging Information technologies in a cost-effective manner System o Specifications for thematic interaction forums • Request for to undertake knowledge sharing and learning Proposal for the Design and o Recommendations and specification for appropriate development and Implementation Business Intelligence solutions implementation of C3P1 of an o Specification for a modus operandi on which the eAgriculture eAgriculture suggested solutions would work (organisation System Action Plan design etc) • The plan will o Specification for Early-Warning and Post-Disaster facilitate Systems collaborative o Specification for a GIS-enabled Decision Support working, ready System for use of policy planners availability of relevant o Specifications for a larger Mauritius information for Agricultural Resource Information System decision making (MAGRIS) (an enhanced form of the at all levels, and eAgriculture portal) higher levels of o Specifications for internal systems to deployed internal for bodies efficiencies and o Preparation of RFP for development and effectiveness implementation of the eAgriculture solutions o Recommendations on phases in which this exercise needs to be taken up • Preparation and submission of the eAgriculture Action Plan • Agree on the RFP based on the phase-wise implementation adoption approach recommended Development, • Invite and award Bids testing,PricewaterhouseCoopers • Commission the development exercise (Phase I) implementation Increased adoption C3P2 • Development and implementation of the eAgriculture and roll-out of of ICT portal eAgriculture solutions • Implement the operational requirements recommended • Pilot Testing and Roll Out
NICTSPC3 93 Project PROJECTS ACTIVITIES OUTCOMES Code Awareness and • Enhanced ICT • Usage of community portal, referred to under A3 Capacity adoption rates C3P3 • Usage of other eServices launched by the GoM Building • Enhanced usage initiatives • Usage of eAgriculture portal after its launch rates Programme Governance Framework A National eAgriculture Committee chaired by the Ministry of Agro-industries and Fisheries and including CATALYSE representatives from MITT, EGC, Mauritius Chamber of Agriculture, and representatives of public sector and private sector stakeholders should be set up to drive and oversee the implementation and monitoring of the programme closely. Project Priority Table 26 C3-Project Ownership and Priorities Project PROJECTS Owner HIGH MEDIUM LOW Code Design and Implementation of an eAgriculture Action 64 C3P1 MoAF Plan Development, testing, implementation and roll-out of C3P2 MoAF the eAgriculture solutions C3P3 Awareness and Capacity Building initiatives MoAF Programme Monitoring Indicators and Milestones Table 27 C3- Project Indicators and Milestones No Parameter Indicator(s)/ Milestone(s) • Timely completion of the eAgriculture Action Plan Design and Implementation • Scope of the eAgriculture Action Plan C3P1 of an eAgriculture Action • Stakeholder groups represented in the exercise Plan • Area and stakeholder coverage of the eAgriculture Action Plan discussions and implementation • Number of hits on the eAgriculture portal • Number of thematic forums established Development, testing, • Number of farmers reporting to have benefited from the C3P2 implementation and roll-out eAgriculture network of the eAgriculture solutions • Area of land covered in the geo-database • Number of farmers reporting with an adverse feedback on the facility made available through the eAgriculture network • Number of people attending the eAgriculture awareness building and capacity building sessions PricewaterhouseCoopers Awareness and capacity • Capacity Building Workshops to enable stakeholders to make C3P3 Building initiatives use of ICT in the agriculture sector • Awareness building sessions to enhance ICT adoption among stakeholder groups of the agriculture sector 64 Ministry of Agro-industries and Fisheries